Agatha Christie created several outstanding series detectives - Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Tommy & Tuppence, to name the most widely read ones. But she also wrote a great many "stand-alone" mysteries and thrillers, and some of her best books are among them.
I'd have to put "The Man in the Brown Suit" in that category. It's the subject of today's review on the Classic Mysteries podcast, and you can listen to the full review here. One of Christie's earliest books, originally published in 1924, it's a delightful, often funny Golden Age thriller, which centers on a young woman named Anne Beddingfield. Anne's father having recently died, and having left her nearly penniless, Anne is certain she is facing life in some low-paying hard-working position. She wishes for a little excitement in her life.
I don't think I'm providing any spoilers when I assure you that she gets excitement, all right. And then some. First, she witnesses the death of a man who falls onto the tracks of the London underground. She also sees a mysterious man in a brown suit who shows up right after the apparent accident, claiming to be a doctor, and examines the victim's body before disappearing into the street. Police aren't interested. But before you know it, poor Anne finds herself mixed up in a murder case in a London house - a case marked again by the appearance of that mysterious man in the brown suit. And Anne winds up as a passenger on a ship bound for South Africa. Attempts are made on her life. Another mysterious man bursts into her cabin in the middle of the night, nearly dead of a stab wound. What's going on? A great deal, as it turns out, involving murder, robbery, smuggling, even a mysterious super-criminal. Anne will need a little help from a lot of her friends before the mystery is solved.
Agatha Christie was in fine form with this one, and it's great, light reading. As usual, Christie manages to pull a few rabbits out of hats along the way, and there are plenty of surprises and twists in store. Unfortunately, except for a rather pricey hardback, "The Man in the Brown Suit" appears to be out of print at the moment (Christie titles bounce in and out of print with some frequency), but the link above will take you to Amazon's collection of third party booksellers who do seem to have inexpensive copies available.
Once again, I'm offering this vintage Christie to the Vintage Mysteries Reading Challenge at the My Reader's Block blog - and I suggest you check out their site for a lot of excellent reading suggestions.